Philippine presidential frontrunner Poe favours free trade pacts

MANILA (Reuters) - Senator Grace Poe, frontrunner in the Philippines' presidential election in May, said on Wednesday she was in favour of signing free trade agreements with other countries if elected.

"To ensure that (domestic) industries are not disadvantaged in selling to the world, we should ensure that we join free trade blocs set up to grant members preferential access to each others' markets," Poe told a business forum.

"I am in favour of following the lead of our more progressive ASEAN neighbours who are way ahead of us not just in joining such blocs, but in signing bilateral free trade agreements with other countries on their own."

The Philippine Supreme Court on March 8 ruled that Poe, who spent much of her life in the United States, is eligible to run for president, reversing a decision by the election commission.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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